But getting to that fitness level was hard. I’m not just talking about the physical efforts of improving my speed, power and endurance, but also dealing with all the added symptoms I was dealing with by going through the menopause. My sleep was dreadful, often barely getting 6 hours sleep a night, I couldn’t regulate my body temperature, and my mood was swinging all over the place. In many ways though my menopause symptoms have been mild.
I had been nervous about this ride from the moment I entered. It's so far up north, has a reputation for bad weather, and is an environment that I have never ridden before. When I looked at the route, it was clear that during most of the ride I would be a long way from any escape routes, food stops, or 24 hour facilities...in fact ANY facilities for many hours at a time. But, on the other hand, the scenery looked stunning, and it would be an adventure. So I overcame my fears, and set about preparing for the ride.
It's very clear that age is no barrier to adventure, and many older riders say that they are fitter later in life than they have ever been. Possibly having extra time in retirement helps with being able to consistently ride. We all know that we can continue well into our later years, and it's been interesting to note that whilst for some, there are a few physical issues that have featured, none have alluded to lack of energy being a problem. The speed of a journey is not the main consideration for most. It's the ability to be out and travel at their own pace and seeing the world that's important. Maybe our later years really are the golden age of cycling. Would you agree?
Is there a time in our lives when we should start to adjust what we dream of doing? Or should we carry on planning big goals with the assumption that we will still be able? This is a question I've been asking myself recently, as I look at what big miles adventures I want to take on next.
If you were to pay heed to the comments below any news article about the Highway Code, the building of cycle lanes, clean air zones, or low traffic neighbourhoods you might think that everyone hates cyclists. In fact, unless you have your head in a bucket of sand, you'd be forgiven for thinking that everyone who isn't on two wheels feels we are responsible for all the ills in the world and therefore all drivers were simply out to get back at us.